Chasing Famous Waterfalls in the Balkans
Written by Travel Writer Carolyn from DesToDis
Imagine visiting the countries in the Balkan Peninsula and trekking massive landscapes to chase beautiful waterfalls. Well, that would be a great adventure I’m sure you would want to be a part of!
The Balkan Peninsula extends to the south from central Europe into the Mediterranean Sea. It stretches throughout 11 countries and abounds with scenic plains and glorious land formations.
Let’s explore the best waterfalls in the Balkans and look into their unique characteristics. If any waterfalls tickle your fancy, you’ll also find instructions on how to get there to soak up the beauty in person. So pack that duffel bag and let’s chase waterfalls!
If you want to hit as many of these waterfalls as possible in one trip, check out our Guide to Backpacking the Balkans.
Raysko Praskalo – Bulgaria
Raysko Praskalo in the Bulgarian language means “a heavenly spray” and true to its name, the waterfalls are heavenly. It can be found under the Botev Peak (2,376 m) in the central section of the Balkan Mountains and is part of the Dzhendema Reserve of the Central Balkan National Park.
Large volumes of water may not cascade from Raysko Praskalo, but at 124.5 meters, it’s the highest permanently-flowing waterfall in Bulgaria and the Balkan Peninsula.
The best time to visit Raysko Praskalo is during spring or autumn when water is abundant. During high summer, though, there will be small amounts of water flowing down from the waterfalll.
How to get there: Raysko Praskalo water fall is situated just next to Ray Hut above the town of Kalofer. Head to Kalofer by train or bus from Sofia or Plovdiv and start trekking four or five hours from the Panitsite area.
Skakavista – Bulgaria
The Skakavitsa Waterfall is the highest waterfall in the Rila Mountains in Bulgaria. It is inside the Rila National Park and is located on the Skakavitsa River. The waterfall flows dramatically down from the eastern slope of Kabul and is situated approximately 2,000 m above sea level with the height of 70 meters.
The Skakavitsa Waterfall is the main tourist attraction in the area also owing to the century-old endemic white fir (Pinum peuce) forests surrounding it. It freezes every winter due to its high-altitude and is at its peak in spring. The snow then turns into a thundering cataract when it melts.
How to get there: Skakavitsa Waterfall is less than half an hour away from Skakavitsa Hut in Rila National Park. Take a bus or train to Dupnitsa and then a local bus to Sapareva Banya, then embark on a four-hour trek from the town to Skakavitsa via Pionerska Hut.
Krushuna Falls – Bulgaria
The word ‘stunning’ sums up these beautiful waterfalls, set amongst the village of Krushuna, near Lovech in the northern central portion of the country. You can get to these waterfalls quite easily, which is always a bonus, as there is a daily bus from Sofia to Lovech, and from there you can catch a regular, local bus.
The falls themselves are set in the forest, surrounded by authentic karst formations and mysterious caves. The waters around and within the falls are clear, turquoise, and despite the thundering water, very peaceful indeed! You can hike a pretty easy trail to the top of the falls, and there is even a spot to have a picnic overlooking the falls, and a camping ground too!
The Canyon of Waterfalls – Bulgaria
This is actually where 46 waterfalls all come together, with the highest,Orpheus, measuring almost 70 metres. There is a rather interesting legend attached to this fall, as it is named after the mythical Thracian prophet Orpheus, who was reported to have lived in the mountains.
The falls are close to Smolyan, which is linked by bus to both Plovdiv and Sofia. There is a very easy to follow trail which links all the waterfalls together, and the hike only takes around 4 hours at a leisurely pace.
Plitvice Lakes National Park – Croatia
Plitvice Waterfalls are located in the Plitvice Lake National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site in Croatia. The park is famous for a chain of 16 crystalline lakes which somersault into each other through a series of waterfalls and extend into a limestone canyon.
Plitvice was named after a world famous Croatian singer during the 19th century. Today it is one of the most famous natural attractions in Croatia. The mineral-rich waters slice through the rock, leaving tufa in continually changing formations.
Plitvice Lakes are divided into two, the Lower Lake and the Upper Lake. Because of its enormity, it takes six hours upwards to explore the lakes on foot, or you can cut two hours off by making use of the park’s free boats and buses.
How to get there: If you are staying in Zagreb, then take the public bus or a private transfer from Zagreb to the Plitvice Lake National Park. It is about 140 km away and around 3 hours land travel. Alight at either Entrance 1 or Entrance 2 of the park.
Krka National Park – Croatia
Krka Waterfalls is located in the Krka National Park. The park is 10 kilometers from Sibenik in Dalmatia, Croatia. Named after the Krka River, the Park extends to 142 square km and covers one-third of the river.
The park is well-known for its magnificent waterfalls, including the famous Skradinski Buk falls which are one of Croatia’s most renowned sights. To the north, a nature trail leads to another waterfall, Roški Slap.
Different varieties of flora and fauna grow all over the park. There are 800 estimated plant life species in the area. Krka River is also home to different amphibians and reptiles. There are also different bird species and a number of bat species who live in the park.
How to get there: Krka National Park is easily reached from Split or Zadar Airport. From there take a private transfer who specialise in trips to Krka National Park. If thats out of your budget you can take a bus from he airport to Sibenik and then hop onto another bus to Skradin, a town just outside the park. At Skradin, you can board a ferry to the Park.
Visoki Buk Zrmanja – Croatia
The best time to check out these stunning falls is between spring and autumn, with winter being a pretty dull time in terms of seeing them in all their glory! Located in the beautiful Dalmatia region, you can book a kayaking tour during the summer months, which is a great way to check out the scenery!
Visoki Buk Zrmanja is actually the River Zrmanja, and the waterfalls are close to Bilisane, before cascading down around 9 metres. This might not be the biggest fall in terms of height, but the natural beauty is enough!
Skakavac – Bosnia and Herzegovina
Skakavac Waterfall is located in the city of Saravejo and is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s largest, permanently flowing waterfall. Skakavac Vodopad or ‘Grasshopper Falls’ plunges 96 meters down a slippery limestone cliff.
Skakavac’s water source is only a few hundred meters away from the waterfall. This has been made into a beautiful picnic area with tables and benches.
The waterfall is best viewed in two lookout points: Two hundred meters from the gravel road on the trail to the left is the first lookout point. The second lookout point is another 20 minutes down a steep but well-maintained trail. This trail brings you to the bottom of the waterfall where the huge plunge can be enjoyed.
How to get there: Skakavac Waterfall is just 12 kilometers north of Saravejo. It is just a two-hour walk from the small village of Nahorevo. Take a local bus number 69 from Sutjeska Road to the end of the line.
Pliva Waterfall – Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Jajce area is stunning in its own right, but Pliva Waterfall is certainly one of the central points. At 17 metres high, the cascading water, down into the crystal clear scene below is something you need to check out. The other plus point is that the waterfalls are extremely easy to get to.
Local Tip: Head to the waterfalls in August when there is an international jumping event held there, but what you’re actually checking out is the joining of two powerful rivers – the Pliva River and the Vrbas River.
Strbacki Buk – Bosnia and Herzegovina
On the Una River, on the border with Croatia, you’ll find Strbacki Buk waterfall. Its located in the Una National Park which is easily accessible with accommodation available in the park.
The waterfall is part of a complex meeting of rivers, and is located close to Doljani and Cukovi villages. The Una River Canyon is a treat for the eyes. The waterfall is 24 metres in height, and is surrounded by lush greenery, which seriously sets the scene.
Rinka – Slovenia
Rinka Waterfall is the main charm of the Logar Valley with its magnificent view and gorgeous meadows. It falls over a wide wall and is the second highest waterfall in Slovenia at 105 meters. Tourists and hikers often visit during winter, as alpinists climb on its frozen waters and ski close by.
The water goes underground soon after the waterfall, and it comes back out to the surface in the lower section of the valley, at the source of Črna. There is an Inn Orlovo Gnezdo right by the waterfall.
The Savinja stream which is the primary water source of the Rinka Waterfall springs comes from numerous sources below the Okrešelj Basin, after which it flows over a series of small step-like falls and rapids to the cliff-like edge of the glaciated Logarska Dolina Valley.
How to get there: From the Solcava to Logarska Dolina, you can ride a bus to the Rinka Waterfall. Disembark at the parking lot at the end of the of the asphalt road. From there it is a 15-minute walk to the waterfalls.
Slap Boka – Slovenia
This is the highest waterfall in Slovenia, standing at a huge 136 metres. Slap Boka is very easy to get to, close to the town of Tolmin. The thundering waters are surrounded by lush greenery, and plentiful walking trails to show you the beauty and power of Mother Nature. The area is a hikers paradise full of rich natural treasures.
How to get there: Simply jump on the Bovec-Kobarid service, which stops very close to the waterfall.
Pericnik Waterfall – Slovenia
This is a sight you need to check out in the winter months, as the frozen waters are seriously impressive! Pericnik Waterfall is located in the Vrata Valley. There are two waterfalls, and the second one you can walk underneath! The larger waterfall is 1000 metres high, and as mentioned, during winter it forms amazing stalactites which seem suspended in the air.
How to get there: This is also very easy to reach, as you simply follow the road signs on the Jesenice – Kranjska Gora Road. The waterfall is around halfway between Mojstrana and the last stop on the road, it’s quite hard to miss!
How many of these stunning waterfalls did you fall in love with? If you plan to visit the Balkans, I hope you catch one if not all of the waterfalls. It would truly be a blast to be able to see these beautiful works of nature on your next adventure.
Did you find the list of waterfalls in the Balkans helpful? Comment below!